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Vikings Quotes - Coordinators - December 13

Posted Dec 13, 2012

Vikings Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave

Good morning. Going back on the road with St. Louis and looking to get a good outcome this week.

Q: Kyle Rudolph did not have a catch on Sunday?

A: He had the onside kick. That was his first touch of the game. I congratulated him for that.

Q: With Percy Harvin out, he is such a viable target for you. Are teams taking him away a little more?

A: We want to see more of him. We’re disappointed that we didn’t get him involved the other day and just the way the game went, it didn’t work out, but that’s not our aim. He’s a viable target and we want him to be a big part of what we do.

Q: Could you describe Christian Ponder’s footwork in the last few weeks?

A: That’s one of the areas we need to tighten up, his footwork in the pocket and staying balanced so we can remain accurate. That’s a continuing, evolving process with a lot of QBs and Christian is one of those guys that keeps working at it and it does need to be more refined. This is another week for us to improve in that area.

Q: It’s such a basic fundamental. When it gets to the NFL, why does it seem it still needs to be worked on as much?

A: I think it’s a continuous process. I think most quarterbacks work on it on a daily basis, part of the fundamentals of the position.

Q: Everyone knows Adrian Peterson is going to get the ball but he still has success running the ball. How do you account for that?

A: He’s amazing. He’s broken a lot of tackles. The guys blocking for him are doing a good job of sustaining blocks too. The combination of those two factors is resulting in a lot of production.

Q: Is that on the perimeter too with your receivers blocking?

A: You bet, you bet. I think on the first play the other day, Jarius (Wright) hustled over there and got in the way of a bigger guy. Everyone is doing their job.

Q: Can you see a situation where teams back off the line of scrimmage because they get out of position when Adrian gets past them?

A: I think you’ve seen that a little bit. We’ve seen more Cover 2 here in the middle of the season because then they have two safeties to cap his runs, possibly in the teens rather than giving up the 50, 60, 70, 80-yarders.

Q: Have you ever seen that for a running back?

A: It’s just a defensive philosophy. You can minimize the damage if you have a couple guys back there rather than just one and everyone’s on the line of scrimmage.

Q: Will the offensive line have their hands full with the Rams’ pass rush?

A: Yeah, they’re a good team. Boy, this NFC West, all four teams have very strong defenses and here we come up on the fourth one that we’ve faced this year. It will be a challenge.

Q: Why has Jerome Simpson’s production not been more than what it has?

A: Jerome keeps working. His injury slowed him down a little bit mid-season. He did a nice job for us the other day on a slant there to get us going on a good drive. He’s done a nice job there at the ‘X’ position and we do, we want to get more production out of he and Kyle, as we mentioned before.

Q: How would you describe Jerome in meetings and being part of the game plan?

A: Oh, you bet, very much into it. There’s another guy who has done a lot of good blocking in the run game. Good effort, comes off the ball, real fast every time, good effort.

Q: Jerome Felton seems to be a nice addition for you?

A: He has. We’ve gone back in time a little bit with our two-back runs and they’ve proved to be beneficial. Adrian has done a nice job of following his blocks and Jerome has done a good job seeking out linebackers and safeties and doing his part.

Q: Was it something you had to work on with Adrian? Because in the past he’s said he prefers not having a fullback ahead of him?

A: We just want him to be difficult to defend. We thought with the fullback, those runs are a little bit tougher to defend at times in today’s defenses and we were lucky to find a guy like Jerome who could fill that spot.

Q: Is the fullback a dying breed?

A: I think it is in the high school and college game and there’s a lot of ways to skin the cat, but it just happens to be our way currently to do some fullback-led runs.

Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams

It’s a good day for us. I’m looking forward to getting out and practicing again our special situations, our third down, our red zone. It’s always a telling tale in terms of how your team is going to do when you do well in those areas, third down, red zone, short yardage. I’m looking forward to a good practice today. The guys are dialed in and looking forward to going down and playing against a very good St. Louis football team.

Q: Two of your biggest plays on Sunday came from rookies, Harrison Smith and Josh Robinson. How have you seen them develop in their first year in the League and how have they put themselves in position to make big plays late in the year rather than hit a wall and fall off?

A: We’re very pleased with that. You mentioned hitting the wall and I think most rookies do go through that. I think that is a real phenomenon in terms of guys getting tired or getting disinterested, but both of those guys are coming along very well. Harrison has been playing consistent ball since day one and has never played like a rookie and Josh is starting to play consistent football with the number of reps that he’s getting in. We’re pleased that both guys are making plays, we’re pleased that both guys are not hurting you, and most rookies, when they do play, they hurt you and ours our not. They’re actually helping us and contributing to us winning football games.

Q: Is there anything you can do to avoid that phenomenon?

A: It happens and you deal with it, but what we ask our guys to do is keep a routine so that when you don’t feel like studying or you don’t feel like doing something, you stick with your routine in terms of the amount of work you do – you’re studying habits, when you get up, when you come to the complex, how you work – so if something else comes along that tries to interrupt your schedule, you know that you need to stick to something. If it works, guys stick to it.

Q: Do you ever give rookies time off like you do with the veterans?

A: Keep going. You have to pay your dues to get that time off.

Q: With the injuries at corner, is it nice to have Josh Robinson step in and not skip a beat?

A: Yeah, and it’s not just Josh. Everyone that’s come in that’s played, they’ve helped us win. We’ve plugged them in and the guys are tuned into their assignment. We told them way back in camp that you never know when your number is going to come up and you have to be ready, and to their credit, they have been.

Q: How is Chris Cook progressing?

A: As far as I can see he practiced some yesterday and he did a nice job. I know he said that he needs to get in game shape again and you can’t do that unless you’re on the field. He practiced yesterday and he looked good. He put his hands on some balls and looked like the same old Chris we saw when he got hurt. I think he’s coming along well.

Q: Is he going to play with a cast?

A: Not quite sure. You’d have to ask the trainers about that. I don’t know.

Q: Do you look at Sunday as a possibility for him?

A: He won’t be available to come back until next week.

Q: How is A.J. Jefferson coming along?

A: He’s doing fine, as far as I know. I think he’s slated to practice today and he looked good running around yesterday so I feel good about him coming back and playing well.

Q: It’s coming up on a year from when playing the Saints and what Drew Brees did against the depleted secondary. How overwhelming was that from what you saw on tape?

A: I don’t remember the game so I’ll take your word for it. You know what, I’ve never worried about guys getting hurt because you can’t control that. Guys are going to get hurt in the NFL and I’ve always believed that the next guy comes in and, if they’re on the team, they pull their weight at we expect guys to play well and we don’t change up what we do. I’ve always believed that the next guy comes in and if he just does his job and not try to be the guy that he’s replacing or coming in for, that should be good enough to win, and usually it is if they do their job. And if they eliminate mistakes, it’ll be more than adequate to win a football game.

Q: Was last Sunday some of the best pass rush you’ve been able to put on recently?

A: I think so. The guys did a great job of harassing him [Jay Cutler] and getting to him. The defensive line changed up their looks and changed up their rushes. It was an outstanding job in terms of making sure that he was uncomfortable. We may not have always got to him and put hands on him, but he was uncomfortable and that was a good thing for the coverage. And also, the coverage had something to do with it. We did a better job of covering and the rush was able to get there

Q: It seems like your defensive line plays its best on turf, is that an advantage playing the next three on turf?

A: We’ll play anywhere. We’ll play outside, we’ll play on grass, I think the guys, if you ask them, they would play out on the street. I don’t think the turf matters or the atmosphere. They just like playing football.

Q: How big of a difference was it to win the turnover battle and play with a lead?

A: The turnover battle is always important. The numbers go way up when you win the turnover battle, especially when you score on defense. It was good to play with the lead and the offense did a great job of starting fast. It’s always good to play when you’re up. In one word, excellent.

Q: What stands out about Sam Bradford?

A: He’s a poised quarterback, he’s a very accurate quarterback and he knows where to go with the football. It seems like he has a very good command of their offense even though it’s the first year with a new coordinator, new team, maybe new system, but it doesn’t look like he has any drop off from what he’s done in previous years.

Vikings Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer

Q: Is it nice to have a big guy like Kyle Rudolph who can go up and grab those onside kicks?

A: He’s the perfect guy for that because he’s big and strong and he can jump and he’s got great hands. He’s the ideal hands-team player, in my opinion.

Q: Before that play, what are you telling your guys?

A: Like today, Thursday is the day we kind of install hands team. It’s a five minute part of our meeting. We look at what the team has done before, look at what we’ve done before, how they might attack us, what type of kick we might get, if there’s any shifting or moving and any reminders that we have and what I do before that play is go over those reminders one more time because it’s not something we do all the time. We just do it in the walkthrough, sometimes in practice on Thursdays. We don’t get a ton of time at it but it’s a very rare play. We’ve only had two of those this year.

Q: What are you looking for out of the guys on the front line?

A: Just make sure that if the ball comes right to them, they have to make a play and if it doesn’t, they have to block in front of the guy that’s going to get the ball.

Q: Even if you get A.J. Jefferson back, it sounds like you won’t use him on kickoff return?

A: Probably not, more for the concussion. He’s had some really good returns. When he was in Arizona, he was very successful, no touchdowns, but he had some big plays for them last year and I was excited about when we got him about that role for him, but because of the concussion, I think you have to be smart.

Q: Will Marcus Sherels fill in then?

A: Probably, more than likely.

Q: How would you evaluate Greg Zuerlein? How does he compare to Blair Walsh?

A: Very similar. Greg is taller, thinner, but he’s got a big-time leg like Blair does. I evaluated them very closely. To me, they’re the same coming out. Obviously, Blair had kicked against better competition, so to speak, in bigger venues, but I don’t think that bothers Greg at all. Obviously, he’s done a great job and I’m happy for him because he’s a good kid. We had him in on our Top 30 visit and I went and worked him out. He’s a good kid and he’s having a great year.

Q: Did they both go the way you thought they would in the Draft?

A: I wasn’t really sure, to be quite honest. All three of those guys, Randy Bullock being the other one from (Texas) A&M who is going to be a good kicker for Houston, all three of those guys, to me, put them in a bag, shake them up, because they’re all three really good kids and really good kickers.

Q: It’s a position when you need to be mentally prepared. Are you impressed with all of them stepping in and hitting the ground running?

A: Very much so, and both of them have kicked big-time kicks, long ones, shorter ones, game-winners, and they kick off so very, very well, both of them.

Q: Last week, you were close to mid-field near the end of the half. Were you in a position to try a long field goal?

A: Was that last week? I don’t remember now. We’re always thinking about it, we’re always thinking about a long field goal at the end of the half because it’s an opportunity for Blair to show us what he can do and even in pre-game Sunday, he was hitting the ball really well. Even this time of year, we’ve kind of taken care of him in terms of how many kicks he gets during the week, but I think any time you’re in that 40 yard area at the end of the half, I think it’s an opportunity for a young kid like Blair to get an opportunity to kick it.

Q: Do you think Leslie Frazier would allow that?

A: At the end of the half I think he would, depending on the game situation, if we need a score, you need a score anytime I guess at the end of the half. If we’re up by 17 and you want to be smart, maybe you don’t kick it, but I don’t foresee anything at the end of the first half that would limit us, not too many situations would limit us to not kicking it there.

Q: Harrison Smith and Josh Robinson are fighting through that rookie wall. Is that the same with rookie kickers too?

A: Probably not as big physically, but I guess for your leg, I’ve been around old kickers and young kickers and I’ve been around young punters and old punters and I’ve learned from each and every one of them that you just have to take care of them. They know their bodies and we talk about it all the time, I probably talk about it too much. I probably drive Blair and Chris (Kluwe) and Cullen (Loeffler) crazy by talking about it, but I want to get their thoughts and what they’re thinking about their bodies because they know them obviously better than I do. It’s one of those things, we have to help them through the last part of the year here because he’s been kicking, if you look at it, non-stop since his senior year in college, the beginning of his senior year in college because he got ready for the Combine, the Senior Bowl, whatever, the bowl game, the Shrine game he was in and then the Combine and then coming right in after we drafted him and so he had been kicking for 16 straight months, so we have to make sure we take care of him at the end of the year here.

Q: Are you going to hide your post-it notes from Chris Kluwe?

A: I don’t even want to talk about that. Those distractions are getting old for me, to be quite honest with you. Do I think Ray Guy deserves to be in the Hall of Fame? Absolutely, but there’s other ways of going about doing it, in my opinion.

Q: Did you tell him that?

A: No, he doesn’t listen.

Q: Were you surprised at how long the ball stood there after A.J. Jefferson fumbled it on Sunday?

A: Yeah, I think everyone was laughing at Christian Ballard running it except me. I think the whole stadium was having a good time watching the big man run but that’s the last thing you want, obviously, in a situation like that. I think it was, what, 14-7 at the time? We can’t have that. We didn’t block it up very well. A.J. needs to squeeze it. His ball security was pretty good, it was high and tight. He just didn’t squeeze it and Zack Bowman did a great job of getting that ball out.

Q: If those things with Chris Kluwe keep going, will you talk to him about that?

A: Like I said, to me, it’s getting old. He’s got to focus on punting and holding.